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Full text of "Art and science come together in an exhibit sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts"

Art and science come together in an exhibit sponsored by the 

National Endowment for the Arts 




Rockne Krebs' laser light sculpture, "Sun Dog," 
brings advanced technology to the creation of art. 
Generally recognized as a pioneering figure in the art 
of structuring space with lasers, Krebs was commis- 
sioned to do the work for this bicentennial exposition 
by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal 
agency established in 1965. 

To present ever-changing patterns of color, the 
artist has projected green and red laser beams from 
the sides of the geodesic dome, criss-crossing these 
with shafts of sunlight filtered through baffles in the 
roof. The water on the floor, recycled to cool the lasers, 
reflects the sun like a mirror, and the 200 prisms on the 
ceiling add to the shifting light patterns in the dome's 
interior. Krebs even invites spectators to become part 
of the work by walking through it. 

Many of the varied artistic activities supported 
by the National Endowment for the Arts, are as inno- 
vative as Krebs' work, while others are in a more tradi- 
tional vein. By awarding grants to individual artists and 
to cultural institutions, the Endowment seeks to develop 
our nation's creative talent, preserve and strengthen 
our cultural heritage, and make the arts more widely 
available to Americans. Using artistic quality as the 
prime criterion, panels of experts advise which projects, 
from among thousands of applications, should be 
funded. During the current year grants have been made 
in the fields of architecture, environmental arts, crafts, 
dance, education, folk arts, literature, museums, music, 
public media, theatre and visual arts. Under a separate 
program block grants are made to state arts agencies 
to supplement the funds appropriated to the arts by 
state legislatures. 

The National Council on the Arts, a 26-member 
group appointed by the President, provides the Endow- 
ment with advice and direction. The Council is made 
of artists, business leaders, actors, musicians, writers, 
and arts administrators. Nancy Hanks serves as Chair- 
man of both the Arts Endowment and the Council. 



National Endowment for the Arts 



In recent years Arts Endowment funds have helped: 
• The Asolo Theatre (Sarasota, Florida) to produce five 
American plays on its mainstage this summer while the 
Asolo Touring Company visits more than 30 Florida cities 
with productions for children. • A small island community 
in the Chesapeake Bay to develop a plan to preserve its 
architectural, and human, character; • Leading dance 
companies to appear in living rooms across the country 
through the "Dance in America" television series; • Folk 
artists like Norwegian furniture painters to work with child- 
ren in Iowa elementary schools; • Steelworkers in Pueblo, 
Colorado, to have a community arts center; • The Phila- 
delphia Museum of Arts to install a climate control system 
and totally redesign the interior for an estimated 2 million 
bicentennial visitors this summer. • The Utah Symphony 
Orchestra to present concerts, symphony-ballet and sym- 
phony-opera performances throughout the Rocky Mountain 
states; • The experimental Organic Theatre Company to 
bring a dramatic version of "Huck Finn" to small towns in 
Illinois; • Three Kansas photographers to do a documen- 
tary photo-survey of their state. 

Last year the Arts Endowment awarded more 
than 700 grants to individual artists and more than $20 
million in aid to such institutions as 105 orchestras, 42 
opera companies, 500 museums, 150 theatre groups, 63 
dance companies, 200 literary magazines, and 70 
independent presses. 

Unlike most European countries, however, where 
the state heavily subsidizes cultural institutions, Ameri- 
can government support has served simply as a catalyst 
for a much wider, grass-roots arts explosion. Summing 
up government's role in the arts, President Lyndon 
Johnson perhaps put it best: "The role of government 
must be a small one. No act of Congress or Executive 
order can call a great musician or poet into existence. 
But we can stand on the sidelines and cheer. We can 
maintain and strengthen an atmosphere to permit the 
arts to flourish, and those who have talent to use it. 
And we can seek to enlarge the access of all our people 
to artistic creation." 



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